Ahead of the 19th National Sports Festival, no fewer than 10,000 athletes and coaches across the nation will compete in 37 sporting events from December 6 to 16 in the Federal Capital Territory.

The 2018 National Sports Festival, tagged Aso Unity Games 2018, would be hosted by the FCT, Abuja.

Dr.PatickUwagbale, the North-Central Zonal Sports Coordinator, who led a team, comprising zonal representatives of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and National Sports Festival Marketing and Management Company Limited for the National Sports Festival, disclosed this at the Lafia Township stadium on Thursday.

He said the festival’s torch, which arrived Nasarawa as the first state, was lit by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 1 at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, and symbolised the commencement of the festival.

Earlier, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State said receiving the torch was a demonstration of the respect the state had for the festival, adding that the festival would afford the state the opportunity to showcase what it had been doing in the last seven years towards sports development.

The Permanent Secretary and acting Commissioner, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Usman Okpochi, who received the Torch of Unity on behalf of Governor Al-Makura, explained that the state would not only participate in the festival, but also put up a good performance.

The governor noted that the state held the sports festival in high esteem, adding that Nasarawa was looking at hosting it in the future.

The festival torch would move round the 36 states’ capitals of the federation before climaxing in Abuja on December 6.